Tuesday, February 15, 2005

This poem was written about a super typhoon that raked through Okinawa before moving to the larger islands of Japan and causing severe damage.

Play the PodCast.

Today, the possibility of the merger of two cyclones in the South Pacific is keeping meteorologists on alert. Located near American Samoa, one of the cyclones, Cyclone Olaf, has winds of 170 mph. At one point, it was threatening to come together with Cyclone Nancy and create what forecasters call "the perfect storm." It is quite scary. It reminds me of May 3, 1999 -- when two large tornados came together as they moved north-northeast from Chickasha, Oklahoma, through Bridge Creek, Newcastle, and toward Norman. The massive F-5 tornado skirted Norman, thanks to a last-minute change in direction, but mauled Moore, south Oklahoma City, then near Tinker Air Force Base, Midwest City, Del City, and then up toward Stroud, where it took an outlet mall down, leaving nothing but cement foundation.

TOKAGE *

* tokage is Japanese for lizard,
also the name of a typhoon that hit Okinawa on October 18, 2004.


The day’s gray
unfurled
attenuated pebbles of light
on a beach, that big slice of earth
we both try to walk on;

but this is
a skyward journey

adjusting my eyes
droplets dreamily sliding down
windows, chapters,
fearful conceptual divides --
the long descent to earth

surfaces
the typhoon boils up
into the watery wombs;
dark caves
we mistake for refuge

shadows cast like dice
by last week’s moon --

shivering, your hand
unfurled
reaching for luck, my outstretched palm
our skyward journey

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